"In the Liturgical Commission for Austria (LKÖ) on February 27th 2015 in Salzburg, the then chairman, Archbishop Franz Lackner, asked for an exchange on the question of blessings of homosexual couples. The occasion was a blessing ceremony in Switzerland, which had great media attention. In the discussion it became clear that a moral theological clarification is needed, as well as a change in the Magisterium on this point to allow for an official liturgy for same-sex couples."
The blessing ceremony Volgger referenced was performed by a Swiss Protestant Reformed minister; the media attention Volgger referenced included an interview in which the minister, Sibylle Forrer, explained why she conferred the blessing.
According to Lackner's spokesperson, the archbishop's request "led to a study day in February 2016 and the LKÖ agreed, that the results of this study day should be compiled and that the topic should be further monitored."
The 2020 text was part of the ongoing development of that project, as Volgger indicated to KirchenZeitung, as was a 2019 symposium on the topic. But since November 2018, Bishop Anton Leichtfried of St. Polten has overseen the Austrian liturgical commission.
In his April interview, Volgger said that from his viewpoint, there are "a considerable number of bishops who would like to see a rethinking of sexual morality for the evaluation of same-sex partnerships."
The priest also said that "a benediction," of a same-sex couple "as it is proposed from a liturgical-theological point of view, would also have an official character, through which the Church expresses the obligation of fidelity and the exclusiveness of the relationship."
In 2003, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that "there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family."
CNA asked Lackner's spokesperson why the archbishop was only now attempting to clarify his involvement, given that he has been reported for months to be responsible for the book. CNA also asked whether the book has the official approval of the Austrian bishops' conference, of which Lackner is now president, or of the conference's liturgical commission.
The archdiocese has not yet responded.